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The Zero Waste Bistro pop-up that operated as 100% sustainable

Two Finnish designers were behind a fully sustainable restaurant built to serve visitors during the WantedDesign Manhattan fair last month.

Commissioned by the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, Harri Koskinen and Linda Bergroth worked with chefs from Finland's "first zero-waste restaurant" Nolla, in Helsinki, to create the Zero Waste Bistro.

Constructed from recycled Tetra Pak food packaging, the eatery offered a fully sustainable dining experience for four-days as part of the NYCxDesign festival, with all uneaten food composted.

Commissioned by the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, Harri Koskinen and Linda Bergroth worked with chefs from Finland's "first zero-waste restaurant" Nolla, in Helsinki, to create the Zero Waste Bistro (pictured)

Forming a long, narrow, arched space, the tunnel-like restaurant presented "a nice intimate dining experience", Bergroth told Dezeen.

To serve the food, cooked and prepared by chefs Luka Balac, Carlos Henriques and Albert Franch Sunyer, the designer also manufactured a set of speckled trays using Durat – a solid-surface material from a Finnish company of the same name, made from recycled plastics.

Furniture and lighting was provided by the Finnish Design Shop, with dining stools by Artek and hanging pendant lamps from Iittala, chosen to prove the importance of using products that will last a long time.

The chef’s key focus was on minimising food waste. To that accord, they reduced, refused, reused, and, only in rare instances, recycled ingredients for dishes such as oyster mushrooms with doenjang miso, black sea bass with white sweet potato and spent grain crumble. 

"Our dishes at Zero Waste Bistro in New York [were] comprised of local and organic ingredients as well as commonly overlooked byproducts of our food system," chef Luka Balac said.

"With a strong focus on sustainability, our menu emerged from creative thinking and the desire to produce something delicious and authentic out of local ingredients that are often ignored."

Kaarina Gould, executive director of the Finnish Cultural Institute, said: "It's time to rethink the way we live, the way we eat and the materials we use. With Zero Waste Bistro, we're proposing a future that reduces waste and helps to regenerate our natural environment, making it liveable for generations to come; a future that's already here if we make the right choices."

Photograph by Nicholas Calcott

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